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Oracle R12 Advanced Supply Chain Planning - Take it to the Next Level
Kristine Murrens - ERP Manager Erin Cones - Supply Chain Manager Tina Tendall - CIO Trinity Logistics Corporation Introduction
Is your company managing data outside of Oracle? Is your company supporting an external database(s) in addition to Oracle? Trinity was, and it was time to make some changes to get these processes moved into our Oracle ERP system. This paper will explain how Trinity transitioned from an unconstrained plan to a constrained plan that resulted in recommendations for alternate sources of supply based on purchasing lead time constraints. Trinity also replaced an outside database by utilizing Oracles robust exception management capabilities to create prioritized work lists using sophisticated workbench queries. A personalization was also implemented to transfer comments when releasing a planned order into a requisition, purchase order or work order. The results of these actions allowed Trinity to take their Oracle investment to the next level by streamlining and creating a more productive supply chain planning environment.

About Trinity
Trinity is a full-service fastener distributor specializing in the supply of standard and customer-specific components through catalog distribution and customized inventory management programs. Headquartered in Davenport, Iowa, with over 350,000 sq. feet of warehouse space in nine regional warehouse locations, Trinity is privately held and has a rich history of experience and management in the fastener industry. Major industries served by Trinity include agricultural, construction and off-highway businesses.

The Trinity product line is extensive; encompassing more than 45,000 line items. In 2011, Trinity shipped approximately 440,000 order lines and managed over 36,000 purchase order lines and releases. Success in this low margin, high transaction volume business requires a commitment to continuously improving business processes through automation. The investment in Oracle e-Business enables Trinity to achieve this goal.

Trinity has a very extensive Oracle Footprint (See Diagram A) and established a goal early in the assessment stage to break the R12 Project into manageable phases. The R12 strategy composed both the re-implementation and migration strategy. The R12 assessment identified the need to re-engineer the planning and procurement processes. Since the ASCP module was on a separate instance, Trinity was able to re-implement the ASCP module. This phase also included upgraded hardware, moving to a 64 bit OS, and upgrading the database to 11g. Although it was only one module, it was a large project phase. The remaining modules will be migrated to R12 in late 2012.

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Trinity Oracle Footprint


Order Management Release Management Advanced Supply Chain Planning Warehouse Management EDI Gateway Advanced Pricing iStore Finance

Purchasing

iSupplier

Sourcing

Inventory Management

Product Lifecycle Management Daily Business Intelligence Enterprise Application Server

Work in Process

Mobile Supply Chain Apps

Quality

BI Publisher

Content Services

Discoverer 11g

Tutor

User Productivity Kit

Oracle Database 11g

Diagram A

Assessment
During the assessment phase it was determined that this module was being underutilized and needed reimplementation. In the former process, the system was generating a plan output with recommendations that were being downloaded and managed in an external database. The database included data pulled from other areas of the Oracle system with a place to capture notes and comments. The results within the external database were divided with queries by planners to create a prioritized work queue. The planners then took these results and worked each part individually by querying an item in the Planners Workbench and working it by using the horizontal plan in ASCP. This process required the planners to use two systems to work their recommendations. Trinity sought a more efficient way to complete the process.

Solution/Design
One of the main objectives was to migrate to a constrained plan. Trinity is not a manufacturer but relies heavily on accurate purchasing lead times. One of the benefits to using a constrained plan is that Trinity could manage supplier lead times within Oracle and rank those sources to provide the planner with visibility to lead time constraints and recommendations when an alternate source could be utilized. This saved the planner from having to reference information outside of Oracle or rely on inherent knowledge for each item.

The initial step was to review the ASCP data flow to determine how the inputs and outputs made the plan operate. During this analysis, Trinity realized that while the focus of the project was on the R12 Advanced Supply Chain Planning module, the pre-requisite task was to perform a data management review to ensure the inputs into the constrained plan were accurate and appropriately maintained. As shown in Diagram B: R12 ASCP Data Flow, this was an enormous task. The focus of this paper will be the relevant content within the Oracle Purchasing, Inventory and Advanced Supply Chain Planning modules.

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R12 ASCP Data Flow

Diagram B

Oracle Purchasing
In the Oracle Purchasing module, Approved Supplier Lists are maintained to support Trinitys sourcing strategy. The first step is to setup the Approved Supplier List by Commodity or Item. The ASL can be defined as global or local to your organization. For each type, key attributes are defined. For example, Key attributes include Supplier, Site, Status, Supplier Item, Manufacturer and Comments. For each key attribute, there is an attribute button that navigates to the Supplier Item Attributes form. Within the Supplier Item Attributes form there are several tabs to maintain data such as Source Documents, Supplier Scheduling, Planning Constraints and Inventory. For the constrained plan, planning constraints were defined for processing lead time and order modifiers specific to the supplier item. Refer to Diagram C: Approved Supplier List Attributes.

In addition to setting up the data for the constrained plan, Trinity now had a place to maintain and store supplier item information within Oracle. This provided added value for visibility throughout Oracle, reporting and integration with Sourcing and iSupplier. The previous process only maintained item processing lead time and order modifiers for the Rank 1 supplier in the Organization Items form in Oracle Inventory and other supplier data was managed outside of Oracle.

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Approved Supplier List Attributes

Diagram C

The next step is to define sourcing rules that specify how to replenish items in an organization. Sourcing Rules can be defined as global or local to your organization. Types defined can include Transfer From, Make At, or Buy From. Dual or multiple sourcing can be defined by splitting the allocation percentage among the types but must equate to 100% in order to be planning active. The example in Diagram D: Sourcing Rules demonstrates a sourcing rule for an item with three ranked suppliers. The Rank 1 example is an offshore manufacturer that has a longer processing lead time than the Rank 2 offshore distributor. The Rank 3 domestic distributor has the shortest lead time of the suppliers but may incur a higher cost for this option.

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Sourcing Rules

Diagram D Once sourcing rules and bills of distribution have been defined, assign them to an Item and/or Item Organization within an assignment set. The assignment set is then setup in the plan options. See example Diagram E: Assignment Set. For Trinitys business model, the bill of distribution contains the transfer logic at the Item level. The sourcing rule is defined at the Item-Organization level and overrides the item level for planning purposes making the organization assigned the purchasing site.

Assignment Set

Diagram E

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For more information on Supply Base and Sourcing setups, reference Trinitys session Conquer the Challenge of Publishing Forecasts from ASCP to iSupplier.

Oracle Inventory
In the Oracle Inventory module, items are defined at a master level and organization level. At the master level, within the MPS/MRP Planning tab, the planning time fence is controlled. Depending on the type of constrained plan implemented, the planning time fence is the time period in which certain restrictions apply to planning recommendations. Essentially, the planning time fence can treat existing supply as firm minimizing noise for actions such as reschedules or cancels. Also, depending on the type of constrained plan implemented, the planning time fence cannot suggest new planned orders earlier than this time frame. Trinity did not find value to moving supply within this short timeframe and thus considered it firm. By utilizing the planning time fence, it reduced the amount of system noise planners were receiving for recommendations within this scheduling period allowing them to focus on more time sensitive recommendations.

Continuing within the MPS/MRP Planning tab, the Exception Set can be defined but is controlled at the organization level. This planning exception set reflects sensitivity controls and time periods for item-level planning exceptions such as overcommitted, shortage, excess, and repetitive variance. These exceptions are triggered within the planning output. Multiple exception sets can be defined per organization and assigned to items based on business criteria. Diagram F: Planning Exception Set illustrates the Exception Set criteria and assignment at the Item Organization level.

Planning Exception Set

Diagram F

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At the organization level, within the Lead Times tab, Pre-processing, Processing, Post-processing and Fixed lead times were edited and redefined based on Rank 1 supplier attributes. Order modifiers at the Item Organization level were also corrected across all of the inventory organizations. Previously, the only place that Trinity was managing processing lead times was within the Organization Item form. With the use of the approved supplier list attributes, supplier-item specific lead times and order modifiers could be maintained and referenced within Oracle.

Oracle Advanced Supply Chain Planning Preference Sets


Display preferences can be defined by accessing the Tools->Preferences section within the Navigator. The user can define up to three preference sets. The two main sections used by Trinity were the Material Plan and Other tabs. The options defined on the Material Plan tab reflect what types of supply and demand data are included and how the data will be displayed in the horizontal plan. Examples include display buckets, decimal places, and show graph. Diagram G: Preference Set Material Tab reflects the seeded settings on the Material Plan tab.

Preference Set - Material Tab

Diagram G

The Other tab includes the three main sections of Supply/Demand, Pegging Defaults and General. The Supply/Demand settings control how the data will be transacted when released from the workbench or indicate if

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these options are allowed. For example, if a business does not want to allow the release of sales orders from the workbench, do not select the option to Include Sales Orders. Pegging defaults apply to the pegging window used in the Supply/Demand form. The General section provides additional options such as including a default plan or making the Queries tab the default when opening the Planners Workbench. These steps can save users additional clicks and ensure they are using the appropriate plan if multiple options are available. The options, View Recommendations for (Days from Today) and Default View By, are helpful if utilizing the Plans tab within the Planners Workbench. The days from today option applies to the suggested order date. Diagram H: Preference Set Other Tab reflects the seeded settings on the Other tab.

Preference Set - Other Tab

Diagram H

Folders and Sorting


Folders and sorting help personalize and organize the way in which data is displayed within forms. As users navigate from one form to another, they can set up specific folders to limit or add fields relevant to their role. In addition, sorting can be saved within a folder to organize the data by selected criteria. Most forms allow up to three levels of sorting. Trinity found this to be a section of navigation that had been underutilized since the original implementation of Oracle. As a result, new public folders were setup as templates for users as they were introduced to new forms outside of the horizontal plan. Some of these new forms included context windows which provided additional information from the source instance (e-Business side). One of the complaints from users using the

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former system was that they had to flip back and forth between the Planners Workbench and the source instance in order to get all of the information they needed to work their recommendations. Types of context windows include Exceptions, Horizontal Plan, Vertical Plan, Supply/Demand, Items, Resources, Supply Chain, BOM/Routing, and Key Indicators. The context windows were previously used but at a limited level. With the addition of maintaining supplier item attributes in the ASL and changing sourcing rules to include ranks, these context windows became even more beneficial for planners. Diagram I: Context Windows shows an example from the Items context window which drills into the sources and supplier capacity windows.

Context Windows

Diagram I Not only were folders and sorting useful in the ASCP module, users found this training refreshing and many went back into forms they were currently using in all of the Oracle modules to apply this functionality.

Supply/Demand
Trinity found the Supply/Demand context window provides the opportunity to work recommendations in a more efficient manner. Previously, the horizontal plan was the primary window used to work recommendations and required the planner to drill into each supply or demand individually. When drilling into the supply or demand, Oracle opens the Supply, Demand or Supply/Demand window based on the order type. The planner would then take the necessary action and repeat this process for each individual recommendation for that item.

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When navigating directly into the Supply/Demand window, planners can view all of the information at once and work the recommendations for each item as a batch. For any order type, planners can drill into the pegging window to analyze the planning output and information such as safety stock or excess for that particular bucket. Using the supply/demand window increases the planners throughput and provides Trinity with the advantage to handle increased business volumes and other value-added activities.

Transitioning planners away from the horizontal plan and towards the supply/demand window was a challenge and lead to change management issues as users were initially resistant to the concept. To be successful, Trinity dedicated additional time and training to ensure users understood the different results from a constrained plan and how to work the recommendations using the new navigation. This training became even more valuable as it provided all of the planners with the same level of information regardless of experience with the previous process. A recommendation for this transition is to take the two different approaches and allow the users to compare the results side by side. In addition, from the supply/demand window, users can export the results into a worksheet and perform additional calculations to validate the planning logic and results.

Exceptions and Queries


The constrained plan provides exceptions within the Planners Workbench for when an item uses an alternate source. When a recommendation uses an alternate source, it is no longer compressed because it now factors in the alternate source lead time. If the supply is beyond any of the ranked sources lead time, the supply is compressed. This also provides an exception within the Planners Workbench for orders with compression days. These two exceptions were most critical for Trinity planners to work. Therefore, queries were developed to create prioritized work lists based on these exceptions. In addition to the two exceptions Orders with compression days and Order sourced from alternate supplier, Trinity created three queries to manage Orders to be rescheduled in, Orders to be rescheduled out and Orders to be cancelled. While there are many great exceptions available, these were the primary exceptions chosen to pilot and train Trinity planners. Other roles utilize exceptions related to managing inventory like Items with excess inventory, Items with no activity, and Items with a shortage. As noted earlier, these inventory types of exceptions are controlled by defining planning exception sets and assigning to items per organization. Some proactive exceptions like Past due sales orders, Past due orders and Past due forecast are supportive for expediting purposes. Even customer service roles have found value in the exceptions Sales Order/Forecast at Risk and Past due sales orders. Diagram J: Exception Query is an example of the exception Orders with compression days.

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Exception Query

Diagram J

Order queries are a new feature in Oracle Advanced Supply Chain Planning Release 12. Trinity found this query type to be very beneficial in working the non-exception recommendations. Not only could this order query be used for planned order recommendations, but it could be used for other order types such as purchase requisitions, purchase orders, work orders, inter-organizational demand, in-transit receipts, and in-transit shipments. Diagram K: Order Query is an example of an order query

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Order Query

Diagram K

Transfer Comments from Advanced Supply Chain Planning


One of the reasons for formerly using the external database was that it provided a place to enter and store comments related to supply and demand activities. The issue with the comments field in the Oracle plan was that every time the plan ran, the supply was recalculated and the planned order ids were no longer the same to reconnect the comments against. Upon review, there were several types of comments being generated. One of the primary purposes for these comments was to support a business process that required planners to enter certain information for management approval processing. Entering these comments in the Planners Workbench before release saved the planners from having to go back and recalculate or determine the information necessary for approval process once the requisition was converted into a purchase order. Another challenge that Trinity encountered was to support drop shipments for outside processing. Planners could enter comments necessary for drop shipments when releasing work orders and reference those notes when converting the requisition for the outside processor.

In Oracle, hooks are available in the Advanced Supply Chain Planning module for manipulating data to satisfy a particular business need outside of the seeded design of the product. The solution Trinity developed was a process that utilizes the MSC_RELEASE_HOOK to store and transfer comments during the release process from the Planners Workbench. These comments were then mapped to the Note to Buyer field within a purchase requisition or the descriptive flexfield attribute in a discrete job. Another step was developed to transfer the data from the purchase requisition Note to Buyer field to the purchase order line descriptive flexfield which was used for approval processing. Diagram L: Transfer Comments Example shows the transfer of comments from Oracle ASCP to Oracle Purchasing.

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Transfer Comments Example

Diagram L

Conclusion
In Summary, Oracle Advanced Supply Chain Planning is a valuable tool that Trinity leveraged to support the supply chain management process by transitioning to a constrained plan and maximizing the usage and navigation within the Planners Workbench. Enabling approved supplier lists with supplier item attributes provides a place to manage supplier item planning constraints such as processing lead time and order modifiers. Sourcing rules allow for alternate sources to be recommended based upon ranking and lead time constraints. By utilizing preference sets, folders, and sorting, users can organize the results to their specific requirements. The design and implementation of queries creates prioritized work lists which allow users to search and navigate quickly to the information they need to work their recommendations efficiently. Trinity also enhanced the ability to enter comments and transfer them to the related purchase requisition or discrete job to facilitate business processes.

Our R12 ASCP Project has enabled Trinity to significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our supply chain planning and management. The R12 ASCP Solution Design provided Trinity with new system functionality and processes to best capture and capitalize on substantial business growth without significant growth in head count. Tim Dunn, President

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For More Information My Oracle Support provided a lot of information during the Release 12 Advanced Supply Chain Planning upgrade project. Please reference the following notes for additional information. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Note 1275037.1 - Information Center: Oracle VCP Planning Data Collection Note 803583.1 - Advanced Supply Chain Planning (ASCP) Profile Plan Option Matrix Note 964316.1 - Oracle Value Chain Planning Documentation Library Note 245974.1 FAQ - How to Use Debug Tools and Scripts for the VCP (aka APS) and EBS Applications Note 118086.1 - Oracle Advanced Planning and Scheduling 11i and R12 Product Documentation Note 145419.1 - How to Setup and Run Data Collections Note 746824.1 - 12.x - Latest Patches and Installation Requirements for Value Chain Planning (aka APS Advanced Planning & Scheduling Note 421097.1 - R12.0 - Latest Patches and Critical Information for VCP - Value Chain Planning (aka APS - Advanced Planning and Scheduling) Note 223026.1 - List of High Priority Patches for the Value Chain Planning (aka APS - Advanced Planning & Scheduling) Applications

8.

9.

10. Note 976328.1 How To : Data Hooks For Manipulating Data in Value Chain Planning 11. Note 578879.1 Example Of How To Use MSC_RELEASE_HOOK

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